A nationwide study could provide answers about the causes and risk factors for different types of cancer. The research is being conducted by the American Cancer Society and they are looking for people who can help. Our Melissa Kakareka explains how it works and what impact it could have on the future.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Nancy Graver was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease 16 years ago. She is a cancer survivor.
"I went through radiation treatment and chemo and I'm here to say you can make it too," said Graver.
The American Cancer Society is looking for volunteers to participate in its Cancer Prevention Study-3, which will help health officials better understand the lifestyle and environmental and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer in patients.
About 150,000 people in the country have already signed up for the study since 2006. But officials are hoping to at least double the number of participants by the end of the enrollment period in December of 2013.
"CPS3 holds the best hope of identifying new and emerging cancer risks and we can only do this if members of the community are willing to become involved," said American Cancer Society Strategic Health Alliances Director.
CPS3 is the third study of its kind. Two similar cancer prevention studies have previously helped confirm evidence such as the link between cigarette smoking and cancer as well as the link between obesity and cancer.
Researchers will use data from CPS3 to build upon evidence from those studies.
"From a scientific standpoint, we need this kind of data. It will help us prevent cancer in the future and it will also help us anticipate cancer in people who have had environmental exposures," said Dr. James Hayes of United Health Services Hospitals.
The study is open to men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer. Participants will fill out a basic questionnaire and provide a waist measurement and blood sample when they enroll. They will fill out follow-up surveys for the next 20 to 30 years.
"The process itself was quite easy. We had to fill out a lot of questions about our lifestyle and environment and things like that, but it wasn't onerous, it was just a lot of questions," said CPS3 participant Leslie Kannus.
The answers to those questions could have a major impact on understanding cancer prevention and risk in the future.